Illinois human and social service agencies, who say they are collectively owed over $100 million from the state, are suing the governor and six state agencies.
Pay Now Illinois, a coalition of 64 human and social service providers who have contracts with the state, filed the suit. The agencies are seeking more than $100 million from the state for the services they have rendered since July 1, when the state entered the 2016 fiscal year with a budget.
The agencies in question provide services for youth, seniors, sexual abuse survivors and people experiencing homelessness, among others. Providers, many of which have had to cut services and staff, say they are facing "acute financial hardship" as a result of the budget impasse, now in its eleventh month.
"In seeking a permanent injunction and declaratory judgment, the suit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, charges that the Governor and other state officials have acted illegally by failing to make payments on contracts while continuing to enforce them," Pay Now Illinois said in a statement. "The suit also claims that the Governor's veto of certain appropriation bills on June 25, 2015 was an unlawful impairment, or interference, with the agencies' constitutional right to a legal remedy for the non-payment of these contracts. State agencies signed contracts with the social services providers, in some cases even after the Governor's veto of the budget. The value of unpaid contracts for the members of the coalition exceeds $100 million."
Andrea Durbin is CEO of the Illinois Collaboration on Youth, a Pay Now Illinois coalition member.
"This suit is about upholding a contract and paying your bills, basic good business practices," she said. "We have delivered services under binding contracts, and now the state needs to pay us. We have delivered - and we continue to deliver - essential services to Illinois' most vulnerable population of men, women and children as required under our contracts with the state. We are doing our part. We expect the state to do the same."